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5.1 sound source and 2.1 speakers

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  • Sound Cards
  • Movies
  • Speakers
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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February 19, 2010 7:31:01 PM

What happens when you play a movie's 5.1 sound source on 2.1 speakers? Will the sound from the 3 removed channels be truncated or added to the 2 channels left? Will it be EXACTLY the same as playing a 2.1 sound source from the same movie?

More about : sound source speakers

February 19, 2010 7:44:29 PM

depending on the specific sound system, it will most likely just play in 2.1 channel mode.

meaning you get the normal stereo experience with two speakers.

some more expensive systems allow for up mixing, but in most cases it will just act in 2.1 mode.
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February 19, 2010 8:41:39 PM

simplyderp said:
What happens when you play a movie's 5.1 sound source on 2.1 speakers? Will the sound from the 3 removed channels be truncated or added to the 2 channels left? Will it be EXACTLY the same as playing a 2.1 sound source from the same movie?

Like welshmousepk said, it depends on your setup. It also depends on your source and on you. Some DVDs have more than one audio scheme recorded on them, and you can go into the disc menu and select 2.1, or stereo. If my receiver, for example, gets a stereo signal, it will split out the low frequencies on its own in initiative, effectively making 2.1 out of stereo. I believe that this is normal behavior for a modern receiver. Some DVD players will downmix before sending the signal to the receiver if you tell them to and will create a 2.1 track out of the 5.1 source on the fly, mixing the surround information into the FL and FR channels according to some insanely scientifical formula that we need not worry our heads over. If you are playing DVDs on your computer and only have 2 speakers and a subwoofer connected, it will depend on what your sound card can do, but I would be surprised to find that the manufacturers have done anything like that. They figure you'll have all the speakers, and you'll get something bizarre, with the center channel missing.
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February 20, 2010 3:54:20 AM

Thank you both for the replies. "Down-mixing" was the term I was looking for. I use VLC media player, which has some settings for this and I'll try to toy around with it to get the right output.

Btw, my audio chipset is a VIA VT1708S which should at least support up to 8 channels.
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February 20, 2010 3:55:03 AM

Best answer selected by simplyderp.
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February 21, 2010 2:14:25 PM

most onboard soundcard, will mix it into stereo(if output), whatever signal it plays.
example realtek alcXXX 7.1 input----(mixes)---- 2.1 output /or whatever number of output channels.
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